The Register writes about China’s efforts to create a home-grown Windows-like OS:
Called Yangfan Linux, which means “raise the sail” in Chinese, the open source operating system is being pieced together by the Beijing Software Industry Productivity Center, a group established by the government to organize Linux development in China. Now six months in the making, Yangfan has been installed on 2,800 government computers, replacing Windows and in some cases early versions of Linux already running inside the government, The source code for Yangfan was made available last week under the GNU General Public License.
The Beijing Software Industry Productivity Center said it is aiming to duplicate about 70 per cent of the functionality of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 operating system. It is also working to add various hardware device drivers to the operating system.
Yangfan is based on two distributions of the Linux operating system. One is the distribution developed by Chinese Linux vendor Red Flag Software. The second is a version of the operating system called Cosix Linux, developed by China Computer Software Corp.
In addition to an operating system, the Beijing Software Industry Productivity Center is developing office applications and other Linux-based software to sit on top of Yangfan. The group’s goal is to develop an entire desktop environment with open source technology for the government (this will be the MS Office equivalent functionality referred to in the original report, so it would appear we’re talking about file formats rather than a clone).
This initiative can bring down the cost of software, but what about the cost of hardware? That is where we need to think of using Thin Clients and Server-based Computing. In countries like India and China, software is anyway considered “free” (rampant piracy). It is important to reduce the cost of both hardware and software.